“American Horror Story: Asylum” Features Coat Hanger Abortion

I’m still watching “American Horror Story: Asylum” but I must admit that it’s with far less enthusiasm than I had for the first season of the show. This season seems overwhelmingly gruesome without a coherent plot to support it and, well, I’m both bored and grossed out. That being said, I’m still watching because I like to finish what I start. Anyway, last night’s episode was notable because it featured what I think could be one of the only coat hanger abortions ever featured on TV. Spoilers after the jump…

Alright, so poor Lana has just found out that she’s knocked up with Dr. Thredson’s baby. This is a bummer because A) he raped her and B) he’s also the killer Bloody Face. Too bad the crazy evil nuns holding her in captivity in Briarwood are anti-abortion and plan on forcing her to carry the child to term — a baby they will then send to live in a notoriously crappy orphanage. Lana ain’t havin’ that and manages to steal a coat hanger to use in order to perform an abortion on herself. She and Kit also hope to use this as part of their plan to get Thredson to confess to the Bloody Face murders, exonerating Kit. Thredson begs Lana not to kill his child, that he will change and no one will ever know he’s Bloody Face and their kid can have a normal life! Yeah, right. Kit gets Thredson’s confession on tape, but before they can do anything with it, Sister Mary Eunice frees Thredson and also tells Lana that her abortion attempt didn’t work — and P.S. she’s having a boy! (That boy presumably grows up to be Dylan McDermott, who is the modern incarnation of Bloody Face.)

Coat hangers abortions are, sadly, a very real aspect of the history of women’s reproductive rights in this country and they are certainly what pro-choice activists are hoping to make obsolete. Regardless of abortion’s legality, women will still get them and abortions like the one shown on AHS are incredibly dangerous. Additionally, this particular storyline touched upon a number of hot topics in the abortion debate, specifically pregnancy via rape and the health risks to the mother if the fetus is carried to term.  As Willa Paskin writes over at Salon, “This “AHS” plotline may have ended with Lana still pregnant, but she’s essentially carrying Rosemary’s Baby. It’s unlikely she’s going to regret her attempt. I’ve never seen a show stack the cards so heavily in favor of abortion, no matter the outcome. Because of AHS’s feverish, crazy, surreal aesthetic, it gets away with political positions more grounded shows can’t, or won’t, attempt.”

So, kudos to AHS for going there and not being skittish in their portrayal.